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NEWIDEASFRESHKNOWLEDGEMEANINGFULMEETINGS " Veryworthwhile" " Ihadsomegoodmeetingswithbothestablished contactsandnewones, andIheardsomegreat commentsfromindustryleaders." Procurement, Pharmaceuticals PLATINUMSPONSOR VisitEurope'sonlyfreeconference& exhibition forpeoplewhobuybusinesstravelandmeetings. . Fullyhostedbuyerprogrammeforbuyersspending? 300,000+ perannum . 20top- qualityconferencesessionstochoosefrom . Opportunitytosharebestpracticeandmakenewbusinesscontacts . Seethelatestproducts& listentomarkettrendforecasts . Talktothepeoplewhoshapecorporatetravel& meetings . Attendoneitherorbothdays, freeofcharge . Theperfectwaytomakethemostoftimeoutoftheoffice Registernow, freeofcharge, atwww. businesstravelmarket. co. uk

COUNTRY REPORT I n a drive to broaden its economic base, Gulf state Qatar is working hard to raise its profile as an international business and meetings destination. The country remains overshadowed by Abu Dhabi and Dubai in terms of volume of international business. However, Qatar's high rating for visitor satisfaction, coupled with its soaring amount of available venue space and accommodation capacity makes it a rising star in the Gulf/ Middle East international events industry. National flag carrier Qatar Airways is one of the fastest growing airlines in the world planning to add 40 planes to its fleet in the next three years, and increase international destinations from 86 to 120 by 2013. It is one of only six airlines awarded a five- star rating by airline reviewer Skytrax. Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority ( QTA), Ahmed Al- Nuaimi, recently visited five European cities on a whistle- stop tour to promote Qatar as an events destination. Stopping in Madrid, London, Paris, Milan and Munich, he now plans an autumn Asian trip to Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore. " Through this road show we aim to build networks facilitating business between Qatar and Europe," Al- Nuaimi told CMW during his London visit. Central to the burgeoning events industry in Qatar is the Qatar National Convention Centre ( QNCC), due to open in the summer of 2011. The new venue will boast 40,000sqm of exhibition space and a plenary conference hall accommodating up to 4,000 delegates. The fa├žade of the venue is designed to represent a sidra tree, which functioned as a traditional Qatari meeting place due to the shade it provided. The opening of the QNCC will almost double the total available event space in Qatar to 90,000sqm. Hotel capacity is set to more than triple by 2012, growing to 29,000 rooms from the present 8,495. Qatar continues to target business and high- end travel, with more than half its hotel rooms ranked five stars. Another addition to the events infrastructure in Qatar will be the Doha Convention Centre and Tower. Due to open in 2012, the venue will add a further 45,000sqm of convention space. The 112- floor tower will hold a hotel, office space, and luxury apartments. According to Al- Nuaimi, Qatar is placing special emphasis on extending the length of stay for its visitors. " Currently, the average stay in Qatar is 1.5 days," he says. " Our goal is to lengthen this to an average of three days." Upcoming events include the 2011 World Congress for Oil and Gas, and the 2012 World Post Conference. Qatar is also bidding to host the 2022 World Cup. The state also has some big event experience and tradition, successfully hosting the 15th Asian Games at Doha in 2006. In the fourth annual Middle East Meetings Industry Research Report released at Reed Travel Exhibitions' recent GIBTM in Abu Dhabi, Qatar Meet under the sidra tree Qatar is expanding its venue and hotel capacity to become a destination for international meetings and business. Mike Trudeaubreaks down the figures. ranked sixth in terms of events business volume. Although it came in behind Morocco and Jordan for quantity of business, Qatar surpassed them to come fourth for client satisfaction. The percentage of buyers who said they held an event in Qatar fell from 13 to 10 per cent in 2009. However, all countries in the region apart from Morocco showed a decrease in meetings business from 2008 to 2009. When asked where they were planning on holding events in the coming year, eight per cent of respondents mentioned Qatar. According to Al- Nuaimi, around 120 of the 200 events held in Qatar every year are international. Although still overshadowed by the two massive UAE international destinations, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Qatar is working hard to come into its own as an event and business travel destination. Ahmed Al- Nuaimi, QTA chairman Artist's impression of the QNCC